3 reasons why Van Jefferson can lead the LA Rams receivers this year
III: Need for Speed
The LA Rams certainly had an eye on getting faster and more athletic this year, based upon the type of players chosen to join the roster. But the speed factor was not really a new concept for the team in 2021. Speed has always been a factory. It’s just that in the past, it’s come as part of the total package, and was not singularly addressed in assessing drafted rookies or signed free agents. But it has been there nevertheless. While it was not highly advertised, Van Jefferson is fast, very fast.
Due to a previous unknown foot injury, Van Jefferson did not test on the 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. That was enough to scare off plenty of teams, as the class of 2020 was bursting with receiver talent. The LA Rams stuck around, however. After all, Executive Director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl Jim Nagy lobbied long and hard on Jefferson’s behalf. When Jim Nagy speaks, the LA Rams listen.
The Rams acknowledged that Jefferson did not run a blazing fast 40-yard dash, but caveated that with a lot of insight due to their success with a similar receiver just several years prior.
"“Kupp didn’t run an admirable 40-yard dash,” Snead said of Kupp’s 4.62-second time at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine. “(In) 2017, (Kupp) stacked as the fastest max speed at the Senior Bowl regardless of position. Van Jefferson went ahead and did the exact same thing. So that was something that was a great tell for us.”- LA Rams GM Les Snead as per Garret Stepien of 247Sports.com"
It was that intense and undeniable similarity between Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods that made Van Jefferson so attractive to the Rams. He is a meticulous perfectionist when it comes to running routes. He delivers a crisp efficient path to hit his mark as the ball arrives, and then has plenty of jets to kick in an afterburner to stretch the play as far as it can go.